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Old 05-31-2006, 01:53 PM   #451
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
(About the so-called "jo-trick") I think this is THE crux of the discussion in a certain sense. The folks who can do it and understand it do not consider it to be "higher-level". In terms of what they know or what their style has to offer.
Just to be clear about the "jo-trick" and "high-level". Think of this, as an example: Tohei assumes a good, relaxed stance, weight on back leg, and has an uke push on his forearm and Tohei lets his back leg accept the load-bearing responsibility (sinks his ki). That's pretty basic, although it is a different thing from the stalwart hero that stops the same push with a "strong stance and a strong shoulder muscle". Next, Tohei accepts the same push while standing on one leg. Sure, that's higher-level, in a sense, but it's still the same basic principle, albeit a little bit on the showoff side. Lastly, Tohei stands on one leg and has 3 uke's in a line push on him... let's say the combined force is higher so technically it's a more difficult trick so arguably it could be said to be "higher level", even though the principle is not really "higher level". If you see what I mean. Basically, Ueshiba did a similar show-off extension of the basic principle.... showed he could do the basic principle but also that his personal skill/strength was even higher than the normal display of the basic trick. I.e., what he was showing was indeed unusual, as a variety of the trick, but it was not a new or different principle. What I saw was that his "connection" ability was pretty high, even for someone doing a basic principle. But remember that he never really pulled it off without an assist from his uke's, without giving way, etc.
Quote:
Anyway, when we get to the point at which the general community of instructors doesn't know something, I guess we are ipso facto, at the point where it gets described as "higher level", at least for that community.

So then the real question is, if these are not considered "higher level" by certain groups outside of Aikido, but they seem to be generally absent within the Aikido community, then why are these things being lost and how do we re-introduce them? Understand, I am not just talking about the so-called "jo trick" but rather the underlying skills that would allow one to have the kind of effortless power which Takeda and Ueshiba seemed to have.
That's a very clear and succinct statement of the problem as I see it, too.
Quote:
Is the Aikido community, in general, even ready to admit this is an issue and look for a solution? I would say probably not. This type of skill was posessed by people who trained very hard, in intimate traiing situations, with very high level teachers. Most Aikido practitioners cannnot / will not match those circumstances. I think that, rather than say to themselves that their Aikido will inevitably come up short, they will simply discount the importance of these elements.
Again, that's pretty true. However, at some point in time any teacher or student who can think ahead sees that this stuff is becoming more and more unavoidable. To ignore it and pretend it's not happening is to risk being marginalized at some point in the future. Or worse.

On the plus side, this stuff is just starting to get a foothold in the West, so the trick is to get moving as quickly as possible. We can only win what we can win. I spent too many years trying to chase this stuff down, so luckily I didn't have any dreams of becoming a world-class martial artist... it's too late. It's going to be the next generation (more Rob John's generation) that gets a real shot at it, but this generation has got to make its own effort in order to maintain its credibility
Quote:
It isn't just in this area that Aikido as it exists is losing touch with what was once there. The spiritual foundations of O-Sensei's Aikido are not being passed on in any large scale way, even though Aikido practice seems to be growing. In the end we have something which bears little or no resemblence to what the Founder had in mind when he created this practice.
I agree, George. Well put.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:01 PM   #452
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
so what happens if aikido continues on it's present path and guys like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden do indeed figure this stuff out and can develop a system and learn how to assimilate it into what aikido should be?

Politically and egoistically, it by all likelyhood would not be acknowledged by Aikikai...so then what?

psst...guys..over here...come train with these guys...they figured it out.

Do we then end up with systema or a situation like "real aikido"? or Brazil-ai-ki-do?
I guess my problem with that scenario is that I don't see how it changes the *philosophy* or approach of individual Aikido practitioners or groups. In a way, although this stuff is critical and takes a while to fully develop, it can still be looked at as a way to condition and train the body that is somewhat aside from the strategy and tactics of Aikido. In other words, even if, for instance, 3 teachers, one from Aikikai, one from Tomiki, one from Yoshinkan each learned these body techniques on the outside (just like Tohei, Abe, and others did), they would go back and apply it to the style and approach of the Aikido they do. Sure it would change a lot of the body strength and movement things (when done/practiced correctly), but superficially an outside observer probably couldn't spot any real difference in appearance or philosophy. If you think about it, the real problem is that this stuff is difficult to see in skilled practitioners, even though the effect can be great.

My 2 cents.

Mike
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Old 05-31-2006, 02:39 PM   #453
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
I guess my problem with that scenario is that I don't see how it changes the *philosophy* or approach of individual Aikido practitioners or groups. In a way, although this stuff is critical and takes a while to fully develop, it can still be looked at as a way to condition and train the body that is somewhat aside from the strategy and tactics of Aikido. In other words, even if, for instance, 3 teachers, one from Aikikai, one from Tomiki, one from Yoshinkan each learned these body techniques on the outside (just like Tohei, Abe, and others did), they would go back and apply it to the style and approach of the Aikido they do. Sure it would change a lot of the body strength and movement things (when done/practiced correctly), but superficially an outside observer probably couldn't spot any real difference in appearance or philosophy. If you think about it, the real problem is that this stuff is difficult to see in skilled practitioners, even though the effect can be great.

My 2 cents.

Mike

Could you explain that a bit more? I think I understand what you mean, but I want to make sure. If I understand, you're saying that there is almost 3 distinct issues:

1) The 'lost' technology of conditioning that trains one's ki & kokyu in O-sensei's aikido.

2) We would need in aikido new pedagogical techniques to prevent their 'loss' again

3) How we make specific and clear statements about how ki & kokyu 'power' the techniques and strategies implemented by aikido?


I'm trying to rephrase this stuff in language I can understand, as a mid-kyu who doesn't know anything about ki but has taken too many organizational sociology courses to be healthy
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:03 PM   #454
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
I'm over my head in this thread, but a question I have is how much effort should be spent of trying to reconstruct what aikido 'used to have' versus actively borrowing 'fixes' from other martial arts? Are we trying to 'recapture' something, or are we trying to progress aikido to new territory?
Well, it's a system of movement and body training that is based on immutable principles, Nick. Tohei had to go outside and learn how to do these things. Abe Sensei had to go outside and learn what he knows about them from yet another source. And so on. So Ueshiba, Tohei, and Abe (there are others, but this is enough to make the point) each learned somewhat different approaches, each with somewhat different "completeness", let's say. Does it change the essence of the Aikido they're doing? No.

On the other hand, someone can take an incomplete understanding of the basic principles of movement and strength-training and if their misunderstanding is great enough, then their core usage of these skills will be just as bad as using "normal muscle" is now. I.e., the position I'd take is that if someone really understands these things, it shouldn't affect the core "Aikido". On the other hand, just because someone knows how to do some of the ki and kokyu things does NOT mean that their Aikido is necessarily good, either.

I think the old saying, with an Aikido bent, would be: "Aikido without internal strength parameters is no good; Internal strength knowledge without real knowledge of Aikido is no good, either".

FWIW

Mike
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Old 05-31-2006, 03:44 PM   #455
Nick Pagnucco
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Well, it's a system of movement and body training that is based on immutable principles, Nick. Tohei had to go outside and learn how to do these things. Abe Sensei had to go outside and learn what he knows about them from yet another source. And so on. So Ueshiba, Tohei, and Abe (there are others, but this is enough to make the point) each learned somewhat different approaches, each with somewhat different "completeness", let's say. Does it change the essence of the Aikido they're doing? No.
But from what little I know about qigongs and training (and its very, very little), there seem to be different types of training that focus on different things. IIRC, Gozo Shioda saying that it doesn't do any good in aikido to focus on hardening a limb or a hand for aikido. Therefore, it wouldn't be the most useful set of ki-related phenomenon for an aikidoka to train for.

I realize thats a pretty blunt example, but its something I'm getting stuck on. Perhaps its my lack of knowledge making me look at the wrong problems, but I would think that different training programs could potentially focus on different things. You touch on that when you mention different kinds of completeness, but I would imagine that some kinds of completeness are better by some criteria than others, even if the same basic principles are always the foundation, right?
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Old 05-31-2006, 04:30 PM   #456
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Nicholas Pagnucco wrote:
But from what little I know about qigongs and training (and its very, very little), there seem to be different types of training that focus on different things. IIRC, Gozo Shioda saying that it doesn't do any good in aikido to focus on hardening a limb or a hand for aikido. Therefore, it wouldn't be the most useful set of ki-related phenomenon for an aikidoka to train for.

I realize thats a pretty blunt example, but its something I'm getting stuck on. Perhaps its my lack of knowledge making me look at the wrong problems, but I would think that different training programs could potentially focus on different things. You touch on that when you mention different kinds of completeness, but I would imagine that some kinds of completeness are better by some criteria than others, even if the same basic principles are always the foundation, right?
That's pretty accurate, Nick. Let's say again that there are essentially 2 major components of the ki-related training:

(1.) The forces and their manipulation skills, which can go from fairly simple to impressively refined.

(2.) The ki/fascia training, which starts with breathing exercises aimed at developing the body "fascia" components, but which can extend into some interesting offshoots that have to do with health, conditioning against cuts and blows, increasing the bone density, the "electro-magnetic field" stuff, etc.

So yes, you can focus on making yourself resistant to blows, if you want to devote the time, but I agree that people should try to stick to the most useful goals and not get involved in tangents, particularly if they have limited time.

The movement and breathing stuff will give the power, health, and bits of the other things, so why stray from the essentials before they're well learned? Incidentally, the ability to withstand blows and punctures with this kind of training was something that some of the elements in the "Boxer Rebellion" attempted to improve to the point of being able to stop bullets. Alas, reality ruled the day.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that every bona fide ki-phenomena skill is going to be an offshoot or a combination of those 2 classes I mentioned above.... so what you think of as "many different things in Qigongs" will in reality only be offshoots of those 2 basic things.

FWIW

Mike
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Old 06-01-2006, 12:02 PM   #457
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that every bona fide ki-phenomena skill is going to be an offshoot or a combination of those 2 classes I mentioned above.... so what you think of as "many different things in Qigongs" will in reality only be offshoots of those 2 basic things.
Ok, so, what you're saying, if I understand you correctly, is to look for martial qigongs that deal with force manipulation, as they have the potential of improving one's aikido. In an ideal world, how much should one look for things that relate to the hara / dantien, in your view (or other neija-related stuff)?
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:42 PM   #458
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
On another thought George...

so what happens if aikido continues on it's present path and guys like Mike Sigman and Dan Harden do indeed figure this stuff out and can develop a system and learn how to assimilate it into what aikido should be?

Politically and egoistically, it by all likelyhood would not be acknowledged by Aikikai...so then what?

psst...guys..over here...come train with these guys...they figured it out.

Do we then end up with systema or a situation like "real aikido"? or Brazil-ai-ki-do?
I was thinking about this question this morning and it's really a good one.

First of all, based on what he's said, I doubt very much that what Dan and I do is similar at all except that there is a sharing of the "groundpath" concept at some level. The next question would be what Dan and I do that is similar to or the same as what O-Sensei did. At the last Aiki Expo, Ushiro Sensei showed some elements of the usage of kokyu-power (the "groundpath" stuff, essentially) .... he may not have used it exactly in the same way that O-Sensei did, either, even though he used the basic concept.

The question really begins to focus, in my opinion, on exactly what O-Sensei did, for a start, and then take a look at the variations.

For instance, I could give my opinion about what skills I have been able to see which O-Sensei had, but I'd have to note upfront that in my opinion not all the high-level Aikido uchi-deshi's had exactly the same skills or used the same skills in exactly the same ways. I was looking at a portion of Mitsunari Kanai's "Technical Aikido" video (I would recommend it) and I realized that he had a slightly different understanding and usage of how to use power than what I see Ueshiba doing. There's a portion of releasing power that is markedly different in one way.... but in terms of applying the essence of power in throws, I don't think that it would functionally make much difference.

But still, that leads me back to Kevin's very valid question... at what point in time do the variations of this sort of power get into something else? It's a good question and something that needs to be borne in mind.

My 2 cents.

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-01-2006, 02:50 PM   #459
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".

I think it is quite possible to have a synthesis of knowledge gained from other sources that would become it's own identification.

That is not to say that what they would be doing would necessarily be "new", only innovative as whoever did it, put it back together in a method that allowed them to transmit.

I don't know the aikikai body very well, but I am sure if it were somebody that did not come up through the ranks and pay their dues that they may find a cold shoulder due to politics...which are mainly an extension of ego!
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:12 PM   #460
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".

I think it is quite possible to have a synthesis of knowledge gained from other sources that would become it's own identification.

That is not to say that what they would be doing would necessarily be "new", only innovative as whoever did it, put it back together in a method that allowed them to transmit.

I don't know the aikikai body very well, but I am sure if it were somebody that did not come up through the ranks and pay their dues that they may find a cold shoulder due to politics...which are mainly an extension of ego!
Well, sure there's a lot of politics, ego, status, whatever... that's just human nature. I wish I could say that I've never engaged in that sort of thing, but at some point we all do. Let's just recognize it and put it to the side.

Ultimately, the real problem is the one that I pointed out... this stuff is inexorably getting loose and spreading and anyone who wants to block things out because of politics or ego is simply cutting their own throat. Sooner or later they will be discredited if they choose the route of denial.

The staggering thing to me is that this is turning out to have affected a lot of martial arts, not just Aikido. I.e., a LOT of people missed these things or only caught bits and pieces. Me, too. I did it. I heard "move from the hara" and thought I had the concept, but I simply missed how complex the whole idea was. I heard "do breathing exercises", so I sat seiza, closed my eyes and did some "meditative breathing", listening to faint bells chime, etc.... totally missing (well, to be fair there was no info, just some "teacher" telling me this was the de rigeur thing to do) that "breathing exercises" are some functional method of strengthening the body but you have to be shown how to do it. I heard "extend ki" and did all sorts of mental games and pretend stuff, just like everyone else. If I wasn't such a clinically-minded person and hadn't actually *felt* something from a skilled Japanese dan, I'd have been right pounding any upstart who told me I didn't know all the stuff right up side the head.

George is asking the right question... how can things be changed? At the moment, I'd bet that most people don't really see a compelling reason why things need to be changed or, if they do need to be changed, how much they need to be changed. Maybe we should have a meeting sometime and thrash it out, explain, demo, whatever. In a sense, even if Aikido is somewhat factionalized, it's still more coherent than most of the other Asian-derived martial arts that are represented in the West, so Aikido actually has the best chance, in my opinion, of doing something substantive ("IF something substantive needs to be done", some will be thinking.)

Mike
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:17 PM   #461
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike wrote:

Quote:
George is asking the right question... how can things be changed? At the moment, I'd bet that most people don't really see a compelling reason why things need to be changed or, if they do need to be changed, how much they need to be changed. Maybe we should have a meeting sometime and thrash it out, explain, demo, whatever. In a sense, even if Aikido is somewhat factionalized, it's still more coherent than most of the other Asian-derived martial arts that are represented in the West, so Aikido actually has the best chance, in my opinion, of doing something substantive ("IF something substantive needs to be done", some will be thinking.)
I agree wholeheartedly. While I may not agree on the realitive importance of some of the things you discuss, or the etiology of some of this...I do agree with this, and think this is an important thing to look at and explore if you want to grow. Also agree with your comments about aikido in general.

Now, if I could find the time to come back to the states and spend sometime with you to gain a better understanding. Either that or seek out the guy you reccomend when he comes to europe. Either way, you have convinced me this is an area I need to gain more knowledge in before I can have a "opinon".

Thanks for the continued discussion.
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:18 PM   #462
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway...

Best,
Ron

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Old 06-01-2006, 03:32 PM   #463
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

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Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Now, if I could find the time to come back to the states and spend sometime with you to gain a better understanding.
That reminds me... I'll be in London the first weekend of July, if you're close by, and I'll be in Berlin on October 21-22.... I could maybe even have some free time around then, but I haven't sorted out my plans that far ahead.

But an important thing to remember is that while we can say "ki-related body skills" pretty quickly, it's not something that can be fully discussed in person in just a very short time because the logic and changes in body-motion have to be gone through a step at a time.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:32 PM   #464
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

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Ron Tisdale wrote:
From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway...

Best,
Ron
It seems like there'd be two levels in this discussion of what'd need to change. One level would be what an individual would be allowed to do, as you mentioned in your post. I'd imagine most aikido organizations would be pretty agnostic about that, as I'd imagine it would be seen as something akin to cross-training or conditioning or something. Where the individual may get into trouble is if he or she started loudly saying having these skills is required for 'good' aikido. So, on this level, an individual could right now be permitted to go and get this training, if one could find it, by whatever aikido organization in question. From what I can tell, etc.

This brings us to the second issue of changing things: creating an organization that encourages that students in aikido know they should train these skills, know how, and and expected to. This would be a bit trickier to do, and it'd have to involve some interesting organizational changes to several things, I'd imagine.

The bridge between these two levels is looking at what individual instructors do. Its where individuals would most likely become more visible for their respective organizations, as how they teach, and what they think the requirements are for tests, etc. interact with the institutionalized practices.
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Old 06-01-2006, 03:37 PM   #465
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
From what Mike has said about being able to do these things without it necessarily being visible, and my own minimal experience in the area, I'd have to say that as long as you can exhibit the outer form of a given style, family, organization, whatever...no one is going to kick you out for also having the skills under discussion. I personally would not leave my current organization...just do the solo training needed to build the skills, and invest the outer form with the inner skills.

Just my idea, anyway...
The first time I learned some of the Chen-style Taijiquan, I had been doing Yang-style for a fairly long time. The guy who was going to teach me asked to see my Yang-style and when I was done, he told me through a translator that I obviously had worked very long and hard on my Yang style. He agreed to teach me, but he made it a condition that I not practice my Yang-style anymore. I agreed, but it was only some years later that I understood why. Even though my Yang-style was awesomely smoothe and beautiful, etc., it was with the wrong movement principles. All the "techniques" I could do were effective and strong... but they were with the wrong movement principles. Ultimately I've had to go back to scratch several times to re-work the way I move.... there's no way to just "slip it into the already good stuff I'm doing". I say that with only good intentions... it cost me a lot of time and effort not to understand that at one time.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:03 PM   #466
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Well, while I understand what you're saying, and would agree to some extent, I do believe Gozo Shioda when he said that training in the basics of yoshinkan was training in kokyu ryoku. **If** that is true, then I shouldn't find **too** much trouble using this new method of moving in that framework.

That's a big if...but for now, it's the best thing I've got going, so I'll plug through it. I'm willing for it to take time...I'm willing to go back to practicing the basics, I'm willing to do the waza and basics slowly.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:48 PM   #467
Robert Rumpf
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote:
Mike, my main concern is that if the main body of aikido fails to respond appropriately or to provide an adequate conduit for learning. At some point it would seem that the disinfranchised, might say..."well we tried....but those aikido guys just won't get with it!".
Not trying to make a major political statement, but hasn't that (in a sense) already happened with Tohei's split from the Aikikai? I haven't read up on this that much, but it seems to me that on the surface, some of the context from which this split arose was a difference in training emphasis with respect to these types of skills.

We can all come to our own conclusions about whether or not the Ki Society has succeeded in terms of building these skills or not on the whole in their practitioners, and whether or not "mainline" Aikikai Aikido has also built these skills or lost them..

Personally, I don't have enough information to comment on the Ki Society people, but it does seem like almost all of the Aikikai people I have met at a semi-serious level of practice and above don't possess these skills, or believe they are relevant in a martial sense.

The only person I've seen who actually was able to successfully demonstrate and explain to me in a clear way any of this Ki stuff, and its applications to Aikido practice, was Oba-sensei, in Tsukuba, of the Ki-society dojo there.

Perhaps I was fooled by my youthful inexperience, or perhaps I just didn't have the appropriate tools to attack. Still, he could make Ki Aikido work well, in spite of my extreme skepticism, with no discernible effort. It actually looked like the Ki-exercises, too, believe it or not - but with the content included. When I have seen those exercises done in other places, they are often just pantomime.

Unfortunately, in spite of his repeated and valiant attempts to try to teach me (and I've seen that he can teach these skills, due to his students), I learned nothing from him beyond the fact that it was possible to do Aikido using those Ki-exercise based techniques without discernible effort if you knew what you were doing.

Why didn't I learn this material from Oba-sensei? I think I was too far along the wrong movement path.. (something Mike talks about). I also spent too little time with him to actually learn these new movement patterns and to absorb what he was teaching. I'm also stubborn and a poor student.

My hope is that eventually, I will converge back on where he is at, given that I know that it is possible, and given that I am continually trying to remove unnecessary force from my techniques.

However, I am skeptical that I can make certain leaps without specialized training in this area. Perhaps I should be doing solo practice of these Ki exercises, or seeking this training elsewhere or in Chinese styles of whatever.

Frankly, I'm not sure that I have the dedication to try to learn this material since it is something that would probably conflict with what I do in Aikido class for some time, and more importantly, I hate solo practice. I also like what I am learning, and my instructors, classmates, etc.

I know that when I went to see Saotome sensei teach at a seminar recently, he taught a lot of breathing techniques. Does this lead to some ability to do Ki-related stuff if you do it right? Noone I know trains this way, so its hard to say. He teaches it, but yet noone learns. How is this different than most things that are taught?

There are some exceptions to this lack of emphasis on Ki training and more subtle technique: I saw Kevin Choate working on some of this stuff at a seminar a few years back in a basic way, and Gleason talks about it in ways that I can't understand very well, but that makes it seem as though he is trying to reach (or already has reached) this type of understanding. Its hard for me to say given my general ignorance without longer exposure.

Perhaps those ki aikido skills are the ones that Mike and Dan are referring to - I've only been occasionally reading this thread.. I'm not sure whether or not Dan or Mike know this stuff or can do what Oba-sensei can do (or if they can do something different) - they certainly talk as though they do know it, but anyone can talk...

I do know this though - I haven't seen anyone in the Aikikai in America do what Oba-sensei can do... Noone I've seen here has that movement type. That probably means that we are missing something. I guess its up to us to decide how important that is for our individual practice.

Rob
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Old 06-01-2006, 06:00 PM   #468
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Robert Rumpf wrote:
...(snipsky)...Frankly, I'm not sure that I have the dedication to try to learn this material since it is something that would probably conflict with what I do in Aikido class for some time, and more importantly, I hate solo practice. I also like what I am learning, and my instructors, classmates, etc.
(snip)
I do know this though - I haven't seen anyone in the Aikikai in America do what Oba-sensei can do... Noone I've seen here has that movement type. That probably means that we are missing something. I guess its up to us to decide how important that is for our individual practice.
Hi Rob:

I think that's actually a pretty honest and clear representation of the general trend of thought (if you'll pardon my taking the paragraphs and isolating them). If someone's classmates and peers don't know this stuff and they're more or less socially happy, what's the point in shouldering the extra load? It's human nature, in a way. Only a few people are ever really going to dig deeply and peer pressure, etc., will keep the others in check. If we think about it a moment, Tohei and a few others went outside O-Sensei's dojo to get something they weren't getting in the dojo, but most of the others did not have the motivation to do this. So in a way, it's the same situation. But you summed it up nicely.

Regards,

Mike
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:11 PM   #469
eyrie
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote:
Even though my Yang-style was awesomely smoothe and beautiful, etc., it was with the wrong movement principles.
What would make for interesting discussion is what were the movement principles and why it was wrong...

Ignatius
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Old 06-01-2006, 07:49 PM   #470
Mark Freeman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

I'd like to throw my 2 cents worth into the mix.

I have only trained in ki aikido, so this is all I know. I am only aware of other types of aikido through watching and listening with an open mind and curiosity. I have not engaged in cross training in other styles as it is not what my teacher encourages and I am happy to respect that. I accept and respect the different types of aikido and that the variety is a strength not a weakness.

Just about all of our lessons are in two parts, first a ki development lesson, then a short break ( we are english we have tea ), then a lesson of ki aikido.

Ki development exercises do not give anyone any special powers, they are just exercises in mind and body co ordination. Through practice they promote a mind/body state that is required to practice ki aikido. The aikido lesson is seen as a ki developement exercises on the move. I guess that the Ki Society folk work in roughly the same way, I would appreciate confirmation or otherwise from any Ki Society people who may be following this thread.

It seems the majority on this thread/site do not specifically train in this way. Hence some of the scepticism and curiosity.

I am aware that in some quarters ki aikido is seen as 'not real aikido'
as it is 'not effective' of 'not martial/just art'. This attitude can be can be seen in a recent article:
http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=2030

I will play it safe politically at this point and not pass direct comment on what I think of the article. I would be interested in any of your opinions on the piece.

The future of aikido would be well spent if we looked at what each has to offer. I fully appreciate the scale of the spectrum of akido from very hard to very soft.
My own teacher learnt first a very strong positive style then later under Tohei ki aikido. Although he now teaches ki aikido exclusively, his akido has moved from one to another in one continuous ever developing line.

The skills that are being discussed are freely ( well a small mat fee aside ) available at some dojo's. You just have to want to go to one.
I read with some interest that some of this stuff is 'guarded' or passed on like some secret. There is nothing mysterious about it. If you practice certain exercises, you improve your being in certain ways, this goes for all arts or diciplines.

I can understand the reluctance of some to move and practice a new style when they may have to 'start from scratch' so to speak. The exercises are just the same old ikkyo, nikkyo so they would know the shapes etc but the ki development is inherent in all of them.

At some point in my aikido career I would like to practice with some of you guys from all your different styles. Only then will I know how you all do 'your' aikido. I'm sure I can only improve by broadening my practice. I am however committed to my teacher and the aikido I get from him, he is after all 'awesome' I know that given my physical location I am very lucky to have such a teacher. And if any of you ever get to practice with me, thats probably as close as you will get to his aikido. I aim not to let him down

My little outpouring is probably due to the puffed up feeling that I have from reading and responding to Jun's post to generate some more contributing members to aikiweb. I've paid up and got my gold star. So if any one wants to take issue with any portion of my post I might just have to pull rank and point you in the direction of my gold five pointed badge

Come on guy's put your hands in your pockets and pay Jun some mat fees!

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:39 AM   #471
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Mike wrote:

Quote:
That reminds me... I'll be in London the first weekend of July, if you're close by, and I'll be in Berlin on October 21-22.... I could maybe even have some free time around then, but I haven't sorted out my plans that far ahead.
Berlin..mmmm. I am about 4 or 5 hours south of Berliln. My wife and I have been looking for an excuse to visit Berlin. Although I am not sure if it would be productive giving the time constraints etc as I recognize that it takes time (hours, days, weeks, months) to work through much of these concepts.
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Old 06-02-2006, 01:47 AM   #472
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Robert Rumpf wrote:

Quote:
I know that when I went to see Saotome sensei teach at a seminar recently, he taught a lot of breathing techniques. Does this lead to some ability to do Ki-related stuff if you do it right? Noone I know trains this way, so its hard to say. He teaches it, but yet noone learns. How is this different than most things that are taught?
It is an interesting problem I think. One someone like George Ledyard or Jimmy Sorrentino would be more qualified to address...

However, this is how I see things.

It is not that Saotome sensei doesn't understand these things...the problem is the dynamic in the U.S and ASU I believe.

He is a Shihan...a teacher of teachers. I would train at the 6am class in Takoma years ago. There was a core group of about 15 of us that would train hard before work. Awesome class! Anyway, we'd find out a "rumor" that Saotome might teach the morning class...then people would come out of the woodwork and you could barely get on the mat!

It use to frustrate me because that was "my time" with the "regulars" and I wanted to have the "face time" in that environment..have the time to spend one on one without all the "drive by opportunist". Anyway, it would be a good class, but you never had time to develop the one on one needed to do much of these stuff because you have to teach to the mid point of the class.

Anyway, with the poliferation of aikido, ASU now has alot of teachers that are good like Jimmy, George etc....but I think much of it boils down to time, level of ability, and devotion of the students. In a normal aikido class you have to teach to the midpoint of the class...so you can't ever get to where you want to go it seems.

I think this is where the whole sempai, kohai, "special student" thing must come into play. There are a few select people that become worth your while that really want to learn and really have the ability for transmission.

I don't think it is necessarily intentional....just the way it works with the dynamic of people.
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:02 AM   #473
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote:
The skills that are being discussed are freely ( well a small mat fee aside ) available at some dojo's. You just have to want to go to one.
I read with some interest that some of this stuff is 'guarded' or passed on like some secret. There is nothing mysterious about it. If you practice certain exercises, you improve your being in certain ways, this goes for all arts or diciplines.
It's not a case as simple as "he can do it" and "he can't do it", Mark. There are most people that can't use these skills. There are some people who have a few bits and pieces (naturally, they think they have it all, in too many cases). There are some people with some portion of the spectrum of knowledge, but who don't teach what they know freely, etc.

Frankly, I think your perception that some dojo's are teaching all the things we're talking about is wrong. Of course, I'm always willing to go look.... but I would be surprised (pleasantly) if I found a dojo that used anything more than a few bits and pieces but where people still use their shoulders for most movement. That's my honest opinion. Of course, I realize that a lot of people with a few bits and pieces aren't going to change their own perceptions about the extent of what they know, but the problem with not commenting about it is that they'll continue on with surety, teaching beginners the "real stuff", which is usually quite wrong.

I just had this discussion the other night with some people who are having great difficulty changing to center-controlled movement and power and they all said their main problem was their *habits* of doing it wrong for years before. That's often the reason why I prefer to work with neophytes than with "experienced" people, to be honest. It's a tough row to hoe.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:13 AM   #474
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
It's a tough row to hoe.
Cough...heh, that's why they call it BUDO.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 06-02-2006, 09:30 AM   #475
Mike Sigman
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Re: The "Jo Trick" and Similar Exercises

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Cough...heh, that's why they call it BUDO.
Not to be persnickety, Ron, but generally speaking the ki/kokyu *powers*, abilities, skills, etc., are not really the Bu... they're the quasi-religious (in O-Sensei's and a lot of traditional beliefs) body skills that are the core of the true Bu. Notice that even though Tohei rejected the Shinto-religious connotations that O-Sensei perceived, he himself lapsed into quasi-religious maunderings about cosmology/religion himself. It's better, IMO, to think of these skills as being within the category of "martial qigongs"... not quite the martial stuff itself.

Regards,

Mike
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